The Oakland Raiders have had a memorable start to the season. Not only did the team overcome the entire Antonio Brown saga, but the team took a disappointing 1-2 start and appear to have turned it around on the fly.
In recent weeks, however, the team has spent a lot of time on the road. The team played its last game in Oakland on September 15, and the next home game won’t happen until November 3.
How did this happen to the Oakland Raiders?
Although there was a bye week during week 6, this type of road trip is generally avoided by the NFL. The team has amassed a lot of frequent flyer miles, going from Oakland to Minnesota, Indiana to London (technically a home game), and Green Bay to Houston. All in all, the road trip stretches over 38 days, and Jon Gruden, never one to hide his opinions, is not pleased with the schedule making.
When speaking about the grueling schedule, Gruden did not mince words.
“It’s uncommon, maybe unprecedented, maybe unrealistic that this should ever happen in pro football,” Gruden said (per NBC Sports Bay Area). “I’m not excited about it, but we’ll adapt and do it the best we can.”
To have such a long trip is unusual to say the least, especially one with a trip overseas mixed in. Adding to Gruden’s frustration is the fact that he is not a fan of flying. Gruden, however, is not making excuses. He was clear to ensure that the team will adjust and make things work.
“We are still trying to understand how that happened, but we are going to have to deal with it,” Gruden said (Per CBS Sports). “We just have to showcase our mental toughness and deal with it.”
The Raiders are not alone in this long road trip, either. Bruce Arians famously called out the NFL for scheduling an equal road trip for the Buccaneers. For the Oakland Raiders, however, it is just another inconvenience in a season that has already been filled with them.
The Oakland Raiders’ Antonio Brown struggles
The Oakland Raiders were making headlines for many of the wrong reasons before the season even started. The team traded for Antonio Brown with the hopes of using his elite skills. Although his exit from Pittsburgh was ugly, the Raiders are no strangers to dealing with a player’s antics, and the team was quick to welcome him.
Everything appeared to be going according to plan until July. That was when Brown left the team in training camp to go see a foot specialist. It turned out that Brown had experienced frostbite after wearing improper footwear in a cryotherapy chamber.
He posted a picture of his foot on social media. Although this was a frustrating event, the team appeared to support Brown and work with him through the setback. Then, August hit.
Brown made headlines when he said that he wanted to wear his old helmet for the upcoming season, but the NFL would not allow it. He threatened to retire and unsuccessfully filed many grievances, but it was all to no avail.
Eventually, Oakland Raiders’ GM Mayock fined Brown for missing team events. This led to a confrontation, an apology, social media videos, and an eventual request to be released. The Raiders obliged him, and a whole lot of extra drama ensued.
The season so far
With Brown behind them, all that was left was football. Despite a season full of drama before the first game, the team appeared ready to take the field. They began the season with a decisive win over the Denver Broncos before dropping a pair of games to the Kansas City Chiefs and Minnesota Vikings. Now in the middle of the grueling road trip, things could have gone south from here, but they didn’t.
The Raiders have since responded to the road trip, the adversity, and everything else that’s been thrown at them with two wins over the Indianapolis Colts and the Chicago Bears in London. In a season that has already been filled with drama, the Raiders do not appear to be ready to give in. After a pair of games in Green Bay and Houston, they will finally be back home — until next season, when the team will likely relocate to Las Vegas.